Baby Rag Quilt DIY

A friend of mine is having her first little baby boy in January. I’m so excited! I was bored of buying shower gifts off registries though (thanks to 12 weddings attended this year) so I put it in my mind to make something. I’ve been wanting to make a rag quilt since I hung out at my friend Erin’s house, and she showed me the HUGE rag quilt she made, which she proclaimed to be super duper easy. I thought this was the perfect occasion. Baby size things are a little more doable for your first go of things, in my humble opinion. My friends are doing baby stuff in jungle theme, so I hopped online to Joann’s during their 50% fleece sale and found some cute prints.


On Tuesday I sat in front of the TV to get my Glee fix while I cut the squares. For a 40″x40″ quilt, I got 2 yards of fabric total–one yard of each print I wanted to use. I cut the squares 8″x8″.


On Sunday I had a whole day at home and decided to knock the rest of the quilt out. So here’s what I did:


First, I laid out all the squares in the order I wanted them. This was to make sure I had enough of each kind of fabric, and to ensure that my cutting job wasn’t off. I did two layers of fabric, so I have two squares of fleece stacked. I used the same patterned squares together.

On each square, I sewed two diagonal lines from one corner to the other corner. This is to make sure the pieces stay together well enough and line up evenly when put together in the whole quilt. I left about a 1/2″ of space at the end of each corner to make it easier to sew all the squares together later. If you want to put batting inside, cut a 7″x7″ square of fleece and put it between the two pieces of fabric before sewing these X’s. I thought the fleece was thick enough without the batting. If you use flannel instead of fleece, you might want to line it with the batting.



The next step was to sew rows of squares together. I essentially stacked two Xed squares and sewed a straight 1/2″ seam along one edge. Continue to do this with the whole row of 5 squares.

After sewing this seam, when you unlayer the two squares, you should have one side with a 1/2″ of fabric sticking out and when it’s flipped over, you don’t have any fabric sticking out.



Once you have done this with all the rows, it’s time to sew the rows together. I was a little nervous about how well this part was going to work. I took a break so I could take a nap, and fell asleep trying to think through the steps I needed to take to make this work. I’m surprised I didn’t dream about sewing! An hour later, I made the attempt. It actually worked well, without much difficulty. You do the same stacking and sewing a 1/2″ seam, you just do it with a whole row. The only thing you need to watch for is the sticking out fabric on each of the sewn together squares. Make sure that two pieces or sticking out fabric are lying flat both on the top and the bottom so it will go through the machine easily.

Two rows sewn together.


Continue until all rows are sewn together.

Bindi came to help. 🙂


Then sew a 1/2″ seam around the perimeter of the quilt. No folding or stacking needed for this!



Be warned, the final step has the potential to cramp your fingers the most. Make small cuts in the sticking out fabric up to the seam line. Cutting through all four pieces of fabric didn’t work very well for me, so I cut two at a time.


Don’t forget to cut strips around the perimeter of the quilt as well!


Once that’s done, you’ve completed your sewing project!


The last thing you should do is throw the quilt in the washer/dryer to mat the cut edges. I’m not sure how much the fleece fabric will do this because it’s so thick, but it doesn’t hurt to wash it anyway. 🙂


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Strawberry Shortcake Bites

It’s a new school year and every month we have teacher potlucks. The theme for this month’s potluck is “salads,” but I saw there was a space for desserts, so I scratched out the potato salad I had planned to bring and decided on a sweet treat considering Mom was reminding me I needed to use up the strawberries that I had forgotten were in my fridge. I found this recipe on (of course). I’ve tried it the way that I saw it made on there–on big skewers with lots of strawberries and angel food cake. It was delish. But for a potluck, I thought I’d try it in a smaller size. Here’s what I came up with:


1 cup milk chocolate meltables

2 cups strawberries, halved

1 six pack package angel food cake minis, but in 8ths

1 box bamboo party forks


Cut the cake and strawberries

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Mixed and Melted Crayons

So this isn’t food like the rest of my blog is, but it is baking so I think I can still put it on my blog. I had some school crayons that needed to be returned because their tops were broken off, but the crayons melted in my car before I got to the store! (Can you say warm weather in Cali??) I was about to throw them away when I remembered what my mom used to do with our broken crayons that we didn’t use anymore. She would melt them together in muffin cups and make lumps of crayon that were always a surprise to color with because you never 100% knew what you would get when you colored! It’s fairly simple to do. I’m probably going to give these out at the end of my kindergartners’ first week of school.


Melted crayons ready for a makeover!


Using a knife, slice the crayon from one end to the other, deep enough just to peel the paper off easily. Then lay four crayons in a row and chop them into pieces.

Make sure you mix them up!


Scoop up mixed, broken crayons into lined muffin cups. I used mini muffin cups, but it will work with large ones too!

I recommend only using washable crayons unless you have some old, old pans.


Put them in the oven for 230 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they’re melted to liquid and you don’t see any chunks.

Take them out to cool completely.


Take them out of the muffin pans, peel off the paper, and break off the rough edge at the top.

Viola! A new type of art!

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Crock Pot Potato Soup

This is the easiest soup recipe in the world. I found it on (my new obsession) and it was linked to Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour blog. (Kind of random.) I couldn’t believe how quick it was to throw together–I managed to make it before I left for school this morning at 7:30! It is sooooo unbelievably delicious too. Yum Yum Yum!


1-30 oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns

3-14 oz. cans of chicken broth

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1 pkg. cream cheese {not fat free.  it doesn’t melt!!!}


Throw everything except the cream cheese in a crock pot. Put it on low for 6-8 hours. An hour before you serve it, add the cream cheese. If the cheese doesn’t completely melt on its own, give it a whiz with a mixer on high for 1 minute. I just stuck mine right in the crock pot and let it churn itself. It worked like magic! Delicious!

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Italian Herb Pasta Salad

I was looking for a quick recipe to bring to a potluck, and I discovered this one from Betty Crocker. It is one of the quickest, simplest pasta dishes I’ve ever made–wonderful for whipping up for a get-together.


1 large cucumber, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 package (16 ounces) rotini pasta
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup Italian dressing
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges and separated (1/2 cup)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (3 ounces)
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.
  2. Mix tomato sauce, dressing, basil and oregano in large glass or plastic bowl. Add pasta and remaining ingredients; toss. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours until chilled but no longer than 24 hours.
Makes 12 servings

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Easter Cakes

It’s been a little while since I’ve tried cooking something new. No time for that with finishing up my graduate program and being on the job hunt. Life is crazy busy. I have been very involved at church lately though, and we’re having an Easter carnival this weekend. I signed up to bake cakes for the cake walk.

I have a confession. I have a thing for cute, kid cakes. You know the ones I’m talking about–the ones that you can’t help but giggle at the sheer cuteness and creativity involved, the kind that kids ooh and aah over when they see it. I enjoy these cakes the best. I want to make people smile. So, with that thought in mind, I set about making a couple awesome creations. Due to my time shortage, I used a boxed cake mix. I poured half of the mix into an 8″ wide circle pan and the rest into a dozen muffin cups.  They came out beautifully. I stuck the circle cake in the freezer for an hour to make it easier to work with, and left the cupcakes out to cool.

The circle cake was taken out of the freezer and cut as follows:

The pieces were stuck together with frosting and extra frosting was put on each side of the bunny to make it look fatter. I doused the whole thing in shredded coconut, stuck in a few jelly beans for the nose and eyes, sprinkled green food colored, shredded coconut around it and got the cutest, fuzziest looking bunny you’ve ever seen.

The next job was the cupcakes.

First, I toasted a panful of shredded coconut for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep from burning.

I turned the cupcakes upside down.

I spread a light coating of yellow frosting around the edges and piled some extra high on the top (which was really the bottom).

Then I scooped toasted coconut around the edges and top to stick to the frosting.

To finish them off, I put hot tamale candies for feet and the little cockscomb on top of their heads. I put sixlets in a squirt of frosting for the eyes, and used a toasted almond for the beak. Cute as can be!

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Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

New Years Eve parties most definitely call for appetizers. My parents were having some friends over but hadn’t been home all day so I was trying to think of something easy to throw together for them. I discovered some sun-dried tomatoes that I had forgotten about in the fridge. Thankfully they weren’t moldy because I paid good money for those. 😉 I also had some cream cheese that was leftover from another recipe I had made. I immediately thought of sun-dried tomato cream cheese–having sold it at Panera when I worked there. I looked up some recipes to see if I could find one and just ended up throwing it together on my own based on those. It was super simple and got raves from the guests that came.


4 sun-dried tomatoes

4 oz low fat cream cheese

dash of garlic powder


Place tomatoes in food processor with dash of garlic powder so top of each tomato is lightly covered with powder. Pulse till no more large pieces of tomato. Add cream cheese and mix. (I did half of this in the processor and the remaining cream cheese by hand.) Serve as a spread for crackers or veggies. Store in refrigerator for 1 week. Makes 1/2 cup.

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